Hiking & Biking

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Hiking and mountain biking in the Reserve

The Reserve has several very navigable trails: the North McCoy Trail, the South McCoy Trail, the River Mouth Loop, and the Seacoast Trail. Stop by the Visitor Center before heading out on the trails to get wildlife updates or to check out a pair of binoculars. To protect the wildlife, please do not venture off the trails. Access to the trails is free.

Woman taking a break to watch the sunset after a mountain bike ride through Border Field State Park
Ana Maritza Veyna, "La Reina de los Senderos" takes in the sunset after a ride through the dirt trails at Border Field State Park near Imperial Beach, California.

Explore the Trails

North McCoy Trail (.3 miles)

Pedestrian and bicycle trail
The North McCoy Trail is probably the best for those who are unable to walk very far because it is relatively short (see above). It is also a trail that would be easiest for the use of wheel chairs or strollers. This trail dead-ends where you are able to see across to the South McCoy Trail but there is no way to cross at this point.

South McCoy Trail (.75 miles)

Pedestrian and bicycle trail
To get across to the South McCoy Trail and to the River Mouth, upon leaving the parking area turn left. Caspian Way will turn into 3rd Street. Turn right onto Imperial Beach Boulevard for two blocks, make a right turn onto 5th Street, and drive to the end of the street. There is parking directly across from the trail. Be sure to stop and sit at the bench at the Brackish Ponds which is a favorite hangout of visiting waterfowl.

Two people walk along the South McCoy trail path

River Mouth Trail/Loop (1 mile)

Pedestrian and bicycle trail
Dogs on leash are permitted
By way of a trail fenced on one side by the Navy Outlying Landing Field, this will take you to the river mouth (the last trail to the right ), a peaceful and calming spot, where a lone bench is there for you to rest, listen to the waves, and wait for the birds to come to you. Binoculars will be helpful. Usually you will see an abundance of brown pelicans, curlews, least terns (in summer), etc. You can also access this trail by walking around the apartments next to the Visitor Center where you will see a dirt bike path which leads onto the trail which runs along the fence of the Navy Training Field.

Seacoast Trail (.75 miles)

Pedestrian and bicycle trail
Dogs on leash are permitted

Formerly North Beach Trail. This trail can be accessed by driving to the south end of Seacoast Drive. Read the San Diego Reader's Roam-O-Rama about Jerry Schad's hike along this trail. Click to view the "Hike from Pier to River Along Imperial Beach" short film or learn more about this section of the California Coastal Trail by clicking here.

Coast Trail North & South (1.5 miles)

Pedestrian and equestrian trail
Dogs are NOT permitted
Formerly South Beach Trail. If you like to walk along a secluded beach, this hike is for you. To access this trail you will need to drive to Border Field State Park. From the entrance gate, walk west until you reach the beach, do not turn with the road. Once you reach the beach you can head south to Monument Mesa or north to the Tijuana Rivermouth. Be sure to bring your binoculars - dolphins can be spotted in the ocean; pelicans, terns, and various shorebirds can be spotted at the rivermouth; and the view from Monument Mesa is amazing! Please respect the boundary signs that mark the nesting habitat for the endangered California Least tern and the threatened Western snowy plover. Click to learn more about other trails in the Tijuana River Valley.